HPV vaccines and males

What are the HPV vaccines?

The HPV vaccines protect against infection from certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause genital warts and cancers of the anus, cervix, mouth and throat, penis, vagina, and vulva.

Which HPV vaccines are approved for use in males?

The HPV4 vaccine (Gardasil®) and HPV9 vaccine (Gardasil®9) are approved by Health Canada for use in males.

Who should get the HPV vaccine? 

The HPV4 vaccine is recommended and provided free to males who are at increased risk of HPV infection.  This includes males: 

  • 9 to 26 years of age who:
    • have sex with men (including those who may not yet be sexually active and are questioning their sexual orientation)
    • are street involved
    • are infected with HIV
  • 9 to 18 years of age in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development
  • 12 to17 years of age in youth custody services centres

At this time, males are not eligible to receive the HPV9 vaccine for free. There is limited benefit to males provided by the additional five types of HPV covered by HPV9. The greatest benefit is for females. 

The HPV4 and HPV9 vaccines are recommended, but not provided free (unless mentioned above), for:

  • boys and men 9 to 26 years of age
  • men 27 years of age and older who have sex with men

Those not eligible for free HPV vaccine can purchase the vaccine at most pharmacies and travel clinics and at some sexual health clinics.  Some health insurance plans cover the cost of the vaccine. 

*Starting September 2017, BC's publicly funded immunization program will include the HPV9 vaccine for grade 6 boys. Therefore all grade 6 students in BC, both female and male, will be offered the HPV9 vaccine series for free as part of the regular school-based immunization program. For more information please refer to the Ministry of Health announcement: B.C. extends free HPV coverage to boys.

HPV vaccine effectiveness in males

  • The HPV4 and HPV9 vaccines prevent about 78% of cases of anal cancers in men caused by 2 types of HPV.  These two vaccines also prevent about 90% to 100% of cases of genital warts in men that are caused by 2 other types of HPV
  • It is best to get immunized before becoming sexually active and coming in contact with HPV; however, people who are sexually active may still benefit from the vaccines. The vaccines do not treat HPV infections.